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Randy Cassingham

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bullet  Out My Window: a Golden Eagle

I just love my job. Even though I "have to" work Sundays, I really have a gorgeous view out my window, and I sometimes see the most amazing things.

Like the two times I saw bobcats. The first time, it was clearly stalking, and suddenly it took off at incredible speed, probably after a rabbit.

(There are a lot of rabbits, too. During mating season they can be pretty hysterical, running big circles around the house -- again, and again, and again, catching my eye as they go by the bank of windows to the south that let in the sun, and the view of the mountains.)

My regular view isn't bad, either: to the south, the San Juan range, with towering (14,150 ft -- 4,312 m) Mt. Sneffels (named after the volcano Snæfell in Iceland) smack in the middle. To the southwest, the Cimarrons, an offshoot of the San Juans, feature terrifically rugged peaks. Where the two meet is Ouray, tucked into a tiny valley surrounded by sheer cliffs.

And that's what I see out my window every day.

But the wildlife is pretty nice too, as I mentioned. This afternoon, my wife said she saw an eagle out the window, but wasn't sure if it was a Bald or a Golden. I missed it, but was sitting at my desk when I saw a huge bird swoop in and land atop a pinion pine tree, at most 100' from my window. I quietly called downstairs for Kit to come up and see it. And I grabbed my camera:

Kit got a look too, and then it took off and let us see its magnificent wingspan:

...and then it circled around to let me get a "face" shot:

All taken with my little point-and-shoot digital camera.

We have seen Bald eagles around here, though they're mostly closer to the river. This one's a Golden. Yeah, it's pretty tough to work here, but sorry: I don't think I'll trade with anyone.

17 Comments on This Entry

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Posted by Marlie, Washington state on March 2, 2009:

Wow, we have a bald eagles nest across the field from our house, but you have to view it with the scope. Gorgeous bird the Eagle. Thank you for sharing.

Posted by Becky, True headquarters on March 2, 2009:

I saw this guy flying around last week just a few miles away. I stopped right in the middle of the road to watch him circling, and so did the oncoming car. Majestic and truly awe-inspiring.

Posted by UncaMarty - Melbourne, AU on March 2, 2009:

One of my most treasured memories is stopping the car to watch two wedge-tailed eagles doing their 'mating dance' above the highway.
Inspirational...

Posted by Pearl. Montreal on March 2, 2009:

The likelyhood of seeing an eagle here in Montreal is very small, especially in a city neighbourhood. But a few years ago I went to the back of my apartment building to put out some recycling. It is just lanes, concrete and balconies. It was winter. There in the snow not far from the garage door was some sort of small falcon eating a pigeon (I guess). That felt like a gift. What the sight of an eagle must be I can only surmise.

Posted by Charley, Sacramento on March 2, 2009:

No Eagles here, just Tom turkeys almost as tall as I and Sandhill Cranes, plus Greater and Lesser Egrets, etc. Love to see them all and more. I like to think that God created them and told us to take care of them. Now, we refuse to believe He did and have to kill them, if they crap on a Fairy Shrimp!

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I've seen wild turkeys just a few miles down the road, but never on my own property. Not sure what the difference is to them! -rc

Posted by Linda, Seattle on March 3, 2009:

Sure beats Pasadena from floating in your pool! My sister sends photos of a moose and her babe from her backyard in Jackson Hole. You guys DO know how to live! I actually came eyeball to eyeball with a bald eagle on Lopez Island coming around a bend on a bluff. He was sitting in a huge fir tree. I don't know who was more startled. We both froze. We do have an eagle's nest in a fir tree in our neighborhood down by Lake Washington, but our neighbors are much closer together than yours!!

Posted by John CA on March 3, 2009:

Fantastic pictures of a beautiful bird. The symbol of a once proud nation.

Posted by Karl Decorah, IA on March 3, 2009:

We're blessed in NE Iowa to have lots of eagles. A few springs back some babies were learning how to take off from the lane in front of our house. There is a web cam near our fish hatchery in an aerie.

http://www.raptorresource.org/falcon_cams/index.html

Posted by Patrice, Arlington TX on March 3, 2009:

Thank you for sharing the pics. As a long haul trucker I get to see some incredible sights of wildlife but rarely when I can get a pic! The one time a co driver happened to see a bald eagle I missed it completely.

The only 'wildlife' I get pics of is my Siamese / Persian cat, Mr MeowGhi who travels with me.

Posted by David, California on March 3, 2009:

Even her in Los Angeles we have interesting wildlife. My own urban neighborhood features skunks, raccoons, possums, and coyotes. Some of the downtown high rise buildings have falcons living on the roofs and ledges, and I believe there is at least one webcam trained on a nest.

Posted by Neal, Massachusetts on March 4, 2009:

My parents in Sturbridge, MA have a wonderful yard that regularly gets wild turkeys and sometimes deer. And if you want to get the turkeys in your yard try buying whole corn from any local hardware or feedstock store (we buy the 50lb bags of whole or cracked corn).

Posted by Aletha, Phoenix, AZ on March 5, 2009:

In north Phoenix I was walking between buildings at work and saw a majestic bald eagle circling. I hardly believed my eyes. A fish and game rep. explained there are several nests within easy flying distance of my work location. It is truly a special sight.

Posted by Alek - Republic of Boulder, Colorado on March 7, 2009:

Gotta love Colorado Randy - sure beats living in a concrete jungle.

I live in suburbia NW of Denver, and in addition to lots of squirrels and rabbits, have seen red foxes tromp through our yard and even an occasional coyote. There's some farmland a very short walk away, and if you are into birds, here's some nifty pictures of a Red Tailed Hawk.
http://www.komar.org/faq/colorado-red-tailed-hawk/

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Gorgeous! And it shows the big difference between a point-and-shoot and a "real" camera. -rc

Posted by Hazel, London, UK on March 7, 2009:

What beautiful pictures!

No eagles where I live, near London's Heathrow Airport, but lots of other wildlife, thanks to a little river that runs behind my flat.

Gazing idly out of the window one mid-winter day, I saw an unwary pigeon being taken on the wing by some kind of medium-sized raptor. The strike and kill happened in mere seconds, less than a metre from my kitchen window. It's good to know that the natural world still manages to carry on, even in built-up urban areas.

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I'm glad there are no eagles near Heathrow -- I wouldn't want any of your airliners crash-landing in the Thames. -rc

Posted by Jay, Texas on March 7, 2009:

Wow, cool pictures Randy.

We have some eagles that live about an hour west of where I live in Texas. We saw them a couple of years ago when we took a drive out that way for the wild flowers.

My absolute coolest eagle sighting was near Juno, Alaska. We saw many bald eagles on that trip but this was way cool to see. My wife and I were on a whale watching excursion and the guide pointed out an eagle in the ocean. It had caught a fish but could not take off because of the weight of the fish I assume. It swam, using its wings, about 50 yards (I am guessing) to the shore with the fish in its talons. It then drug the fish up onto the beach a good ten yards and proceeded to eat it. By the way, we were told that when an eagle gets its feathers wet it cannot fly again until they are dry.

Posted by John, Massachusetts on March 8, 2009:

Nice pics/account, Randy. It's good to know that you not only keep your "ear to the ground" on things newsworthy, but also keep your eyes open to your natural surroundings and care enough to share that, too.

Posted by John, Seattle on March 11, 2009:

Quick thinking to grab your camera and snap a few pictures when you have the chance!

In Seattle (I'm 5 miles from Seatac Int'l Airport) we have a lot of eagles, hawks, falcons etc. But people are so busy they don't even notice. I have interacted with them a few times, (imitating their call, etc) and find them very curious, and unafraid (but cautious). My best experience was when I was driving down a small 2 lane road (in the city) in my pickup and a bald eagle swooped down in front of my truck and flew with me about 8 feet off of the ground for about 3 blocks. He looked over at me more than once (at my face! Not just at my truck) and then flew off! A 10 foot wingspan looks HUGE when it covers most of the road you're driving on!

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